UK space leaders head to major satellite conference

A MAJOR satellite applications conference, which is attracting industry leaders from across the UK, will showcase how businesses can tap into exciting opportunities in the multi-million pound marine sector.

Claire Barcham, director for commercial space with the UK Space Agency, the Government agency responsible for the UK’s civil space programme, and Sean McCarthy, head of market intelligence at the Satellite Applications Catapult, are just two of the speakers at the conference, which will be held on March 28, next year at The National Glass Centre, in Sunderland.

Entitled Discovering the Possibilities: Into the Blue, the conference will look at the challenges and recommendations set out in the Foresight report on the Future of the Sea and how businesses can help solve them.

The conference is being organised by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, which is delivered by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham. The centre, which is based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark), in Sedgefield, County Durham, is one of five across the country.

The event follows on from last year’s successful conference, which attracted more than 100 businesses.

Shaun Whitehead, of Teesside-based Scoutek attended last year. He said: “It was a well curated event that gave us at the “front end” of space a great opportunity to discover the needs of downstream users and to showcase what we can do for them.  One of the things that impressed me was how it provides a forum for cross-pollination between organisations, academics and businesses. It was educational, inspirational and motivational.”

Speakers will look at how we use the sea for food, energy, trade and travel; how we can look at saving the sea, from pollution, global warming etc, and how we can protect ourselves from the sea, ie coastal erosion.

Other speakers at the conference include:

  • Aidan Thorn of the National Oceanographic Centre
  • Cathrine Armour, UK Hydrographic Office
  • UK Hydrographic Office
  • Florence Engasser, of the innovation foundation Nesta

Claire Barcham, commercial space director at the UK Space Agency, said: “We believe the growth of the space industry means all regions of the UK can benefit and the North East is increasingly being recognised as a growing part of this thriving sector.

“The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence is one of five regional centres of excellence the UK Space Agency has invested in, alongside the Satellite Applications Catapult, and they are doing a fantastic job in helping companies capitalise on the exciting opportunities available. I’m really looking forward to this conference, which will highlight some of the many uses for satellite applications which companies can take advantage of.”

Stuart Martin, CEO of the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the vast growth of the satellite applications sector within the North East, and the 2019 North East Satellite Applications Conference will represent the ideal opportunity for businesses in the marine sector to explore new possibilities with satellite data.

“Along with our regional Centres of Excellence, we drive innovation to benefit the UK economy, and we will aim to continue building partnerships at the conference next year.”

Catherine Johns, innovation director at Business Durham, which works on behalf of Durham County Council, said:

“The North East has one of the highest levels of growth in the space sector compared with other parts of the country. Businesses here are providing tangible solutions to real problems with a focus on commerciality rather than being research led.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be able to offer such an in depth look at the marine satellite sector and explore a wide range of opportunities which North East businesses can take advantage of.”

To register for the event visit

For more information contact Lindsay Parker, Stride PR, on 07590 775835 or email